“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship…”
(Romans 12:1 ESV)
What does worship mean?
For some, worship is that thing you do for an hour (maybe a little longer if the Pastor get’s carried away). Worship begins with a time of fellowship, has some songs and readings that everyone does together, and ends with a rousing song (to wake up the sleepers) so that we can all go get more coffee and donuts.
Still others think of worship as the singing and praises we give to God during the service, before we hear the sermon and give our offering. We say our prayers and sing our praises to God, and when the praise and worship is done, then we move on to other things.
Considering the verse above, though, shouldn’t worship be something that goes beyond Sunday morning? Isn’t worship more than just a song and a prayer?
Worship, I offer, is a way of life. It is the act of giving all that we are, all that we have, to God in thanksgiving and adoration. It is the daily act of making great the praise of God, of recalling all that He has done for us, all that He has promised to do for us, and committing ourselves and our world to the glory of God. Corporate worship, when the congregation gathers on the Lord’s Day to worship God together, should strengthen our individual lives of worship; while our individual lives of worship should strengthen our corporate worship; the two are mutually dependant. You cannot worship God corporately without first having worshiped God privately, you cannot continue to worship God privately without being strengthened and encourage by your corporate worship.
But I have to confess, I haven’t given the best of my life to God as an act of spiritual worship. If I were honest, I would have to say I’ve given God the spiritual leftovers – a cold heart, a scattered mind, a undisciplined tongue, a wandering spirit. If I want to truly worship God in Spirit and Truth – I must first come to God repenting of the things I have done and said that have not been worshipful, that have not brought glory and honor to His name, that have not made His goodness known.
I don’t mean to suggest that every moment of my life, or yours, should look like a page from “Pilgrims Progress” (although, what a life that would be). Rather, when at the grocery store, is my speech, my conduct, gracious and kind, showing the generosity and love of Christ my Lord? When I’m on stage in the community theatre, is my performance, on stage and off, in every way demonstrating the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Does my life bring glory to God, and am I finding my joy in His presence?
Reality check – no, I haven’t been giving my life as a sacrifice of praise. Worship, too often, becomes something that I do at certain times, not a way of life.
The Holy Spirit has been working in me to show me how my priorities have been off, and I pray that God’s Spirit will continue to show me how to live a life of thanksgiving and adoration of our Father. I think this verse “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:17 (ESV), might be the one I have to put before me.
May your life be given to God in endless worship and praise!